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Reinvent yourself

December 20, 2022

For many high-achieving professionals, there comes a point where they wonder if it’s time for something new – a time to move beyond the boxes they’ve used to define themselves throughout their educational and professional life.

A master’s degree can launch a career transformation

Since 2016, UBC’s Master of Engineering Leadership (MEL) and Master of Health Leadership & Policy (MHLP) degrees have enabled professionals in engineering, urban planning and health care to gain the credentials, experience, professional network and knowledge needed to forge a new path.

Having built successful careers in their field, students choose the MEL and MHLP because they are ready for reinvention – to pursue opportunities and career paths more aligned with their values.

Here are just two stories of MEL alumni who graduated in 2021:

  • MEL in Integrated Water Management alumnus John Chang had experience as a project manager in water technology but wanted to focus on water management. After completing the program, he’s now overseeing a stormwater management project for a metal recycling business.
  • Raphael Soldi was working as a process engineer in the petrochemical industry, but wanted to shift into a more sustainable field. With his MEL in Sustainable Process Engineering, he’s now working in the Netherlands developing innovative waste-to-chemicals technology.

Professionals in the healthcare sector have also used the MHLP to pivot into new roles:

    • Having worked as a bedside nurse, Margaret Lin decided to take her career in new directions with a focus on seniors’ care. “As a frontline worker, I realized there were problems I couldn’t address because they are systemic or required innovative approaches beyond my knowledge.”

Taking full advantage of the opportunities offered during the MHLP, she reinvented herself as a project leader creating strategies to prevent frailty and support healthy aging for older adults.

  • Physician Ahmed Soltan wanted to move away from working one-on-one with patients to a managerial position. The MHLP in Clinical Education expanded his skills beyond clinical care and set him up for a job as a policy analyst.

A springboard for reinvention

What makes the MEL and MHLP degrees so transformational is their unique interdisciplinary structure. Each of the nine sector-specific specializations covers both technical knowledge and business insight. Over the course of the program, students deepen their understanding of the challenges facing their industry while gaining the business and leadership skills to make a difference.

Cheryl Segaric, Director of the MHLP in Clinical Education, speaks for all the programs when she says “The breadth of opportunities available to our graduates is wide. We’ve seen that the [degree] is a springboard for multiple career pathways.”

Ready to reimagine your future?

Wanting to reinvent yourself is one thing. Actually taking the steps to do so is quite another. An article on career transitions in the Harvard Business Review (What’s Stopping You from Reinventing Your Career?) discusses the factors that prevent even the most motivated individuals from making the leap.

“It can be hard to imagine a nebulous future when weighed down with the very real demands of today,” say authors Heather Cairns-Lee and Bill Fisher.

“More than this, personal reinvention can be scary. Who among us hasn’t hesitated in the face of a big decision, not for more insight, but simply in the hope of deferring choices to avoid the associated anxiety and self-doubt? We also know from psychology that people procrastinate to avoid ambiguous, difficult and unstructured situations or decisions — and personal reinvention checks all of these boxes.”

The answer, say the authors, is to start with small steps. One of those steps could be as simple as attending an information session to learn about the MEL or MHLP and see if it’s the right fit for you.

You can also review our alumni profiles to see how our graduates have used their MEL or MHLP degrees to reimagine what’s possible in their careers – and begin planning what’s possible in yours.